Techman Texts: Web ruling could mean big changes

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  • A federal court ruling last week may change the future of the Internet.

    A U.S. Appeals Court in Washington ruled in favor of Verizon in a lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules that specify that broadband providers must treat all Internet traffic equally.

    Without these rules, Verizon, for example, could slow down Netflix traffic or demand a premium to maintain the speed. This would be a powerful weapon against competition.

    Tech Talk: Microsoft exec discusses home/office convergence

    Chris Jones, a sales manager twith Microsoft, talks with the PG's Ced Kurtz about the pros and cons of home and office convergence. (Video by Melissa Tkach; 1/20/2014)

    It also could result in tiered Internet service, in which consumers get some content at full speed while other websites are slower because their owners chose not to pay, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    It's a disturbing ruling that puts tremendous anti-competitive power into the hands of the Verizons and Comcasts of the world.

    • • •

    Really? Target continues to amaze with its mishandling of its massive cyberbreach.

    After the announcement by the retailer that 70 million customers had personal information stolen, every security expert warned against fraudulent emails that appear to be from Target and have a link to click.

    So what does Target do? In offering free credit monitoring, the company sent out an email that requires customers to provide a name and email address and to click on a link.

    Even though the Target email is legit, I bet a lot of people are afraid to accept the offer -- especially since you also have to give your Social Security number.

    Although taking advantage of Target's free credit monitoring is undoubtedly a good idea, I'm not giving Target one more piece of information about myself.

    • • •

    Rich kid: Security firm IntelCrawler said Friday that it has identified a 17-year-old Russian as the author of the malware used in the cyberattacks against Target and Neiman Marcus, and that it expects more retailers to acknowledge that their systems were breached.

    According to The Boston Globe, the teen did not do the hacks himself but sold 60 copies of his program, called BlackPOS, to cybercriminals.

    • • •

    Bye, bye Best Buy? Speaking of big retailers, Amazon recently filed a patent application for something called "anticipatory shopping," which could eliminate a big advantage of bricks-and-mortar stores -- the ability to get something the same day you decide you want it.

    The Wall Street Journal's Digits blog reports that Amazon plans to use previous orders, product searches, wish lists, shopping-cart contents, returns and even how long an Internet user's cursor hovers over an item to anticipate what a customer will buy in the future. Those items will then be shipped to a site near the buyer, so if the item is ordered, it can be delivered the same day.

    No word on when the system will start.

    • • •

    Cash it in: We previously reported that Microsoft will stop patching security holes in Windows XP on April 8. Bloomberg Businessweek notes an interesting consequence -- 95 percent of all ATMs run Windows XP. Some can be upgraded through the network, but older ones may have to be junked. Microsoft is selling extended protection.

    • • •

    Website of the week: Taxifarefinder.com estimates taxi fares from point to point in cities across the nation, including Pittsburgh.

    Send comments, contributions, corrections and condemnations to pgtechtexts@gmail.com.


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